One of the oldest working Guy vehicles in the world, and its Australian connection. It has been owned by members of the same family since new.

I must thank Brendan Kinsella, the current owner, for the information and photos used in this section.

The lorry is a 1928 Guy model ‘ON’, with chassis number 9355, and engine number 50181. It was exported to Perth in Western Australia, where the Guy agent, Dalgety & Company fitted it with a locally built tray and cab. In 1929 it was sold to Mr. Thomas Quain for $750, and delivered to his farm, at his property, ‘Kyalami’, 200 miles to the north of Perth, near to the Damboring railway siding, in the far south of Dalwallinu, a hot, dry, and dusty wheat growing area.

The lorry, on the  farm. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

The Guy lorry had been purchased to transport bagged wheat, bales of wool, and drums of fuel, to and from the Quain property to Damboring railway station, a distance of about 12½ miles. Although a 30 cwt. truck, it regularly and reliably carried loads in excess of 3½ tons along the rough gravel roads of the day.

The lorry, carrying a typical load. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

The 1930s depression led to a shortage of petrol, and so in 1935 Thomas Quain’s son, Joseph, fitted a gas producer, which burned charcoal to produce gas to power the engine. The charcoal was made by burning dried eucalyptus wood under controlled conditions. The lorry continued to be powered by producer gas until 1944 when petrol was again freely available.

The gas producer conversion. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

Joseph Quain. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

Joseph was justifiably proud of the Guy lorry, and so in 1939, when it was ten years old, he sent a letter to the Guy factory in Wolverhampton to express his satisfaction with the lorry’s performance, and to congratulate the company on its silver anniversary.

The letter reached Sydney Guy’s desk. He was delighted with the letter, and replied in person to Joseph, beginning a correspondence between them, which would last until Sydney Guy’s retirement in 1957.

They also sent presents to one another. When Joseph married in 1952 he received a pair of George II salt cellars from Sydney Guy.

One of Sydney Guy's letters. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

Another of Sydney Guy's letters. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

Sydney Guy's final letter, just before he retired. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

Another heavy load. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

In 1957, Joseph’s nephew Redmond Kinsella, son of Joseph’s sister Catherine, began visiting the farm and greatly enjoyed riding on the lorry. From Joseph he learned how to maintain the vehicle, and also how to drive it. When Joseph died in 1985, Redmond became the lorry’s owner. He shipped the vehicle 2,000 miles to his home in Canberra, where he worked in Government service. Although in full working order, the lorry hadn’t been used for some time, and so he began a restoration project.

The mechanical restoration consisted of an engine rebuild, new clutch and brake linings, and new gearbox bearings. The cylinder head hadn’t been removed since 1944 when the vehicle was converted back to petrol from producer gas. Luckily he had a set of over-sized pistons that had been purchased from the Wolverhampton factory in 1945, and still in their original packaging, complete with gudgeons, and small end bearings.

The original tray, made of Jarrah, a type of Eucalyptus hardwood, had suffered over the years, and so it was replaced with a tray made from local Ash, another type of Eucalyptus hardwood. The bodywork was repainted in identical colours to the original to make the restoration as authentic as possible.

The restored vehicle could reach a creditable 25 mph. cruising, or 30 mph. downhill. Redmond was delighted with its performance.

The restored lorry. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

The lorry now belongs to Redmond's son, Brendan Kinsella, who returned it to the UK in 2007. It now resides in Kent. Brendon has since fully restored it, and has recently converted it into a funeral hearse.

In England, after final restoration. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

Another recent view. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

The restored engine. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

A final view. Courtesy of Brendan Kinsella.

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